Thailand is often called "The Land of Smiles" because the mostly Buddhist people are extremely affable and hospitable. Thailand radiates a golden hue from its glittering temples and tropical beaches through to the ever-comforting. The Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, was one of the few Asian countries that was not colonized by the West. As such, its rich culture is largely free of European influence. Thailand is quite modern, relative to some of its neighbors and is one of Southeast Asia's economic powerhouses, with first-rate hospitals and other international-level facilities.